On Packing Light(er)

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Some Background

I used to be a really heavy packer.  When I moved abroad to Southeast Asia for an exchange, I brought with me 2 huge 1960’s style full of … stuff.  Granted, I was going for 4 months, but that was definitely the days prior to the birth of minimalist Frugirl.

Traveling around in Asia with my friends, who were much more minimalistic than myself, I learned to pack only what was really important.  Some of my “high points” was a 3 week trip across Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam in just a school backpack, and also a 5-week trip across Egypt with by girl friends with a 50L pack.

Some Inspiration

Some great inspiration from the blogosphere are the very fashionable ladies at Extra Petite and Fabulously Broke.  They have a lot of great tips and posts on how one can pack lightly while staying stylish, so I encourage you to check them out, before packing for your next trip!

4-days, 3-nights Boston Trip

This weekend, BF and I are taking a last-minute trip to one of my favourite cities in the world – Boston.

I just finished packing my bags last night, and snapped a few pictures to share with you my packing experience. I tried to pack light and still keep my outfits fun and make-up. 🙂

BF will be going for a quasi-business trip, and we are making a mini-vacation out of it.  So most of my clothes are casual wear for comfort and (some) warmth.

Everything fits into my “Longchamp” look-alike brown (Roots – $35) gym bag and I will also be bringing along an over the shoulder purse.

What I Packed – Clothes

This is what I am bringing with me, and that indistinguishable pile at the back is what I will be wearing during the flight and our first day there.   The clothes that are rolled up will be packed and this includes:

  • 1 pair of  dark rinse skinny jeans
  • 2 cardigans
  • 3 short sleeve t-shirts
  • 2 long sleeve t-shirts
  • 2 skinny belts
  • 1 scarf (not shown)
  • 1 pair of ankle boots
  • 1 pair of knee high flat boots (not shown)
  • 4 sets of under garments and socks (not shown)
  • 1 sleeping shirt
  • 1 pair of yoga pants
  • cute hat (not shown)

What I Packed – Toiletries and Make-up

I got this wonderful make-up back just this weekend (for only $5!), and I am really happy with it.

For some reason, it’s really hard for me to find a make-up bag that can hold all my toiletries and my make-up.  The ones that I have are either too big, or too small, and usually not enough compartments to keep everything organized.

I thought it would also be a great time to test out the Marcelle BB Cream and Joe Fresh cheek tint to save some space.  I left my usual primer, tinted moisturizer, blotting powder, blush  and large brushes at home.

Here’s what’s in my make-up bag:

  • Small bottles of: cleanser, serum, moisturizer, sunscreen, acne medication, toothpaste, contact lens solution, and make-up remover
  • Marcelle BB cream, 3 eye shadows, 1 cheek tint, 3 lip glosses, 2 lip sticks,  1 brow palette, 1 liquid liner, 3 pencil liners.
  • Tools: 3 eye shadow brushes, 9 cotton pads, foldable brush, toothbrush.


I brought along another foldable (fake Longchamp by Chatelaine) bag for shopping :).  You can see it peaking from behind my make-up bag.   Most of the rest of the items are things I’d usually have in my purse anyway:

  • Sunglasses
  • Leather gloves
  • Ear muffs
  • Passport
  • Wallet
  • Small digital camera
  • iPod Touch and charger
  • More lipglosses 🙂
  • Eye drops
  • Contact lens and glasses case

Since we were traveling to the US, we didn’t convert any currency, and just used our credit cards everywhere.  I did take out $60 cash from a bank machine –  TD has machines there you can use – but we didn’t really need the cash.


Here’s everything all packed away.

I really enjoy not checking any bags, and I feel kinda like a celebrity breezing through with my minimal baggage, while everyone else waits for their bags to be dropped off 🙂

I still brought a little too much – I could have re-worn some shirts, I really didn’t need two pair of shoes, and I definitely could have eased up on the lip sticks ;), but I’m on vacation and wearing lipstick is fun!

Stay tuned for What I Bought in Boston! 🙂  Any bets on if I blew my $250 budget?

Readers, how do you like to pack for vacation?



Filed under Fashion, Travel

15 responses to “On Packing Light(er)

  1. I try to pack as little as possible. I go frequently to my moms which is 4 hours away, so we stay for weekends instead of driving back and I only bring 2 or 3 outfits. It makes it easy!

  2. I try to pack things that I know I can mix and match so that I am not packing a ton of stuff. I also forget things so the less I have the easier it is for me to make sure I packed everything back up. I always keep in mind that if I pack light–it means more room for fun stuff I buy!

  3. I am a heavy packer too. My friends laugh at me when I check in 2 huge luggages plus a carry on for a 1 week stay at home. I can’t help it, I am indecisive, but this really motivates me to pack light.

    I like the bag you put everything in…what kind of bag is that?

  4. Bethany

    Packing light is the best way to travel and to live. I’ve lived out of a single suitcase for months at a time just like you… and that trained me to lose a lot of the “fluff!”

  5. I always try to pack as light as possible. One great tip I read in a magazine is to always pack outfits! Very simple, but very true. I also pack outfits that I LOVE. That way, I can pack up to 7 outfits for most trips up to a month and be OK. Before, I always found myself overpacking, and not wearing more than half of the stuff when I’m actually away, because they didn’t pair well, or because I simply didn’t like them. Packing outfits that I love has seriously reduced the amount of items I now pack!

  6. belowhermeans

    I’m a light packer too. Cheers to us!

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  8. I only ever take a carry on – much easier than waiting for your bags at the end of a flight.

  9. Well done!! I love packing light, and I share your difficulty in finding a good make-up bag. I had a good one for years, good in that it held everything I wanted it to hold, then I realized that it was such an odd/large shape, that it took up all of my bag space! I got one at Target that looks similar to yours, and it has worked well for almost two years.

    I love packing light. It is the most freeing feeling.

  10. Kay

    Loving the bag and your minimalistic packing.. I’ve just started thinking about it, so I loved reading your post.

    FG, Where did you buy that makeup bag – can you share please ? what a great price.

    • Hi Kay,
      I got my make-up bag from the clearance table at Rexall a few weeks ago. It’s marked $16.99 – which I would have paid – but rang up as $4.73. If you’re in Canada and near a Rexall, it might still be there (although I think every store is different).

  11. Kay

    Thanks Frugirl! I’ll check it out. We live in Mississauga and I’ve seen Rexalls here. Let me check it out.

  12. The Happy Homeowner

    I hope you had a great time visiting my city!! 🙂

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